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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus by ISET
Dec
11

Do You Have Questions About the Upcoming Pension Reform? Here Are Some Answers

Over the past months, we have been asked several times questions about the upcoming pension reform. Here are some answers. For whom is the contribution to the fund mandatory? Who can join/contribute to the fund? All those individuals who receive their salary net of taxes because their employer pays the income tax for them are automatically enrolled in the fund. Those who are 40 or more years of age will have – after 3 months in the fund – the possibility to opt out. However, this “window” to opt out will close after the 5th month in the fund. Those who a...
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Dec
11

Why Is Georgia Importing So Much Electricity?

In October 2017, Georgian power plants generated 828 mln. KWh of electricity, marginally up (+0.79%) compared to September. Following the traditional seasonal pattern, the share of electricity produced by renewable sources declined to 71% of total generation (87% in September), while thermal power generation’s share increased, accounting for 29% of total generation (compared to 13% in September). When we compare last October’s total generation with the total generation of October 2016, however, we observe an 8.7% decrease in total generation (in October ...
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Eric Livny
Georgia should be happy to be part of a regional electricity network and not a Robinson Crusoe economy. This allows for mutually ... Read More
Monday, 11 December 2017 12:12 PM
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Dec
04

Your Guest Is My Guest, or Why Tourism Is Not a Zero-Sum Game

The South Caucasus is divided by high mountain ranges, often impassable political borders, and ethnic conflict zones. In addition to three independent states, the region also includes three unrecognized territories. Nakhichevan is separated from Azerbaijan’s mainland by Armenia’s Syunik region. Armenia’s border with Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is sealed for political reasons. Though trampled by politics, the economic arguments for greater regional integration in the South Caucasus are truly powerful. For one thing, thanks to its strategic l...
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Simon Appleby
The Vine and Wine Foundation of Armenia recently held its inaugural International Wine Conference in Yerevan, backed by GIZ. Guest... Read More
Saturday, 09 December 2017 7:07 AM
Simon Appleby
An interesting market for Georgia, oddly enough, is the Armenian Diaspora market (around 8 million people). Many diaspora Armenian... Read More
Saturday, 09 December 2017 7:07 AM
Eric Livny
Sounds really interesting, Simon! Ive recently interviewed Ia Tabagari, head of the Georgian kvevri (or natural) wine association,... Read More
Saturday, 09 December 2017 5:05 PM
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Nov
27

Does Georgia Need Highly Educated Workers?

A pleasant surprise awaited me on my first day as a student of Tbilisi State University’s Business and Economics Faculty. Thanks to my performance on the national admission exam (ერთიანი ეროვნული გამოცდები), I was inducted into the so-called “Elite Group,” piloted by TSU in an effort to attract Georgia’s best and brightest. There were 50 of us in the group, mostly from working class families, and none felt like they belonged to any kind of “elite.” In the end, I really enjoyed my “elite” status. Not because I could assert dominance over “mere mortals,” b...
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Nov
20

Asian Invasion: Stink Bug in Georgia

Nikoloz M., 65, from the Imeretian village of Jikhaishi, invested around 15,000 GEL into his 8.5 ha hazelnut orchard in 2012, hoping that one day his initiative would turn into a profitable business. Nikoloz was on his way to success up until this year, before the stink bug, or Asian pharosana, as Georgians call it, appeared in his orchard. While Nikoloz expected to harvest 800 kg – 1000 kg of hazelnuts per ha, the stink bug infestation reduced his harvest by 30-35%, resulting in a loss of more than 1,000 GEL per ha. For a rural household with average an...
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Nov
06

The Long, Hot Summer: Why We Witnessed a Spike in Forest Fires, and What Can Be Done About It – Part II (man-made fires)

Forest fires pose a threat to human life and property. As we discussed in a previous article, most countries throughout the world, Georgia included, suffered from an unusually high number of forest fires during the summer of 2017. In Georgia, this topic was the subject of a spirited public debate about whether these fires were wild or man-made. In our previous article we discussed how natural causes generate wild forest fires. We mentioned that climate change can play a major role in the occurrence of forest fires, because drier conditions and longer hot...
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